Juvenile Offenses

Fort Worth Juvenile Defense Attorney

Advocating for Young Defendants in Tarrant County

Has your minor child been accused of a criminal offense? The charges will likely proceed through the juvenile justice system, which operates slightly differently from the adult criminal justice system. Mr. Shipley has a unique experience with judicial proceedings as a former law enforcement officer and FBI agent, so he is well-equipped to strategize an effective defense for your child. He can help you understand your options in the juvenile system, as well as petition for lenient release terms and reduced charges. In serious juvenile cases, he can also help you build a strong case for avoiding a transfer to adult court. 

Juvenile criminal cases can be confusing and overwhelming to handle. Let The Shipley Law Firm, PLLC take the reins. Schedule a free consultation to get started.

Who Is Considered a Juvenile?

Texas law defines a “juvenile” as a person between the ages of 10-17 at the time they committed a criminal act of either:

  • Delinquent conduct – conduct that, if committed by an adult, could result in imprisonment or jail time; or
  • Conduct in need of supervision (CINS) – conduct that, if committed by an adult, could result in a fine or otherwise wouldn’t be considered a violation of the law (e.g., truancy, running away from home).

Common examples of juvenile crimes are:

  • Truancy (skipping school)
  • Violating school rules
  • Loitering
  • Mischief
  • Vandalism
  • False identification
  • Criminal trespass 
  • Traffic offenses
  • Theft
  • Minor in possession
  • Marijuana or drug possession
  • Forgery

The Juvenile Justice Process

When law enforcement has probable cause to believe a juvenile has violated a law, they may take the juvenile into police custody and consequently notify the parents. Within 48 hours of the arrest, a detention hearing will be held, where the judge will decide whether the juvenile will be released or detained until their next court appearance.

Reasons a juvenile may be kept in detention could be that:

  • They do not have suitable parent protection or care 
  • They are deemed a danger to themselves and/or the community
  • They have previous juvenile offenses and are likely to reoffend

If the county decides to charge the juvenile with delinquent conduct in the adjudication hearing, they could face any of the following outcomes:

  • They may be placed on probation. The juvenile must be discharged from probation by the time they turn 18 years old.
  • They may be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) with an indeterminate sentence. This is for felony offenses. A juvenile sent to the TJJD on an indeterminate sentence must be discharged by the time they turn 19 years old.
  • They may be sent to the TJJD with a determinate sentence. This is for certain offenses only. A juvenile sent to TJJD on a determinate sentence may possibly be transferred to adult prison after they turn 16 years old, depending on their behavior and progress in TJJD programs.

For serious crimes, the county can request to have the juvenile certified as an adult, in which case the juvenile will be considered an adult in the criminal context and will no longer be in the juvenile justice system but in the adult penal system.

If your child has been detained for an alleged juvenile crime, contact The Shipley Law Firm, PLLC immediately for legal support. Mr. Shipley is an experienced defense lawyer with former law enforcement experience, so he brings a well-rounded background in both sides of the law. He will do his best to get your child out of trouble and out of the adult criminal system.

Let The Shipley Law Firm, PLLC protect your child’s rights and their future. Contact our team today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options by calling (817) 783-4899. An attorney will return your call within 24 hours.